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The first dementia park in Taiwan, Chu Tien Le Chih Park, provides the most attentive long-term care service. 
Publish Date:2019-10-22    
The first Chu Tien Le Chih Park was built on October 7 in Pingtung, providing a friendly caring environment for elderly and dementia patients. The new Senior Citizens Activity Center contains a dementia daycare center, multi-purpose activity space and inclusive playground equipment. Elders can move around freely in the community in their familiar style. The local community members can protect the elders together for them to live happily in their old age.

Pan Meng An, the County Magistrate of Pingtung County Government, said that, “Delay and local aging means providing a respectful and humane care for the elderly. He pointed out that, to face the aging trend, the long-term care policy implemented by the central government has been upgraded from ver. 1.0 to 2.0 and 3.0. However, the elderly are still confined in a 66 to 99 square-meter space. They can’t get enough stimulation from life or culture. He wonders if the elderly can receive attentive care.

The Pingtung County Government formed a team to visit Hogeweyk and Village of Happiness KOBE. Hogeweyk promotes a community lifestyle. Clerks and neighbors are played by healthcare workers, family members and volunteers to build a safe, friendly environment for the elderly. However, it is very expensive. The team conducted an evaluation and hoped to use the current facilities and labor in the community, modify the facilities and train the workers. It aims to take care of the elderly in a realistic environment and makes the best use of limited resources for further promotion.

Two years ago, the Pingtung County Government acquired the budget from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Hakka Affairs Council and Industrial Development Bureau, Ministry of Economic Affairs. It chose the Hsi Shih Village at Chu Tien Township as a demonstration site to carry out the experimental plans for an aging dementia friendly community. The Department of Health, Department of Social Affairs, Department of Hakka Affairs, Department of Research and Evaluation, Transportation and Tourism Department, Department of Public Works, and Department of Education, of Pingtung County Government, and Pingtung County Police Bureau, participated in designing and building the first dementia park in Taiwan, including labor training and integration of smart technology.

The Chu Tien Le Chih Park is mainly based on the Senior Citizens Activity Center. This area is connected to Zhongyi Temple of Liouduei, Pingtung Hakka Cultural Museum and Chu Tien Junior High School. The dementia daycare center is on the first floor of the Senior Citizens Activity Center. It provides the day care service, rehabilitation training, health promotion and elderly leisure event for elderly with dementia. The Senior Citizens Activity Center on the second floor will provide a physical education room, a culinary classroom and a multi-purpose activity space based on the expert device and discussion with community residents. This will become a place for elders in the community to hang out.

The Senior Citizens Activity Center was opened on the 7th. Pan Meng An led the heads of the authorities to put on suits to simulate the elderly life. Their limbs were tied with lead and they put on reading glasses. They did exercise, used friendly inclusive playground equipment and played the motion sensing game with the elders and community residents. They experienced the life of elders and realized that people become clumsy when they get old and they need more attentive services.

Pan Meng An said that elders don’t only stay in the Senior Citizens Activity Center when they’re in the Chu Tien Le Chih Park. All elders wear the D+Card, integrating micropositioning and WiFi technology, and they can go to other places. They can go outdoors, interact with teachers and students of Chu Tien Junior High School, visit the Pingtung Hakka Cultural Museum to see the relics and recall the old days to improve their memory. They can visit the community and chat with the residents. They can even take the bus in the village to tour around. If they leave the Park, the D+Card will send a message to notify the caregiver to keep track of them.

The cooperation of community residents is required besides the design. Since 2014, the Pingtung County Government carried out a long-term training course for students of Chu Tien Junior High School. During the implementation of the Park, the Pingtung County Government negotiated with and explained to the locals numerous times. Over 50 local stores are willing to become friendly stores. Chairs are placed by the door of the houses the village. Hsi Shih Village becomes an intensive care network and residents protect the elders together. Pan Meng An said, “We changed the caring method and expanded the social circle of the elders. Therefore, they can live happily in their old age in a familiar place, which is the best for them.”

Now the Park mostly takes care of elders with dementia in Chu Tien Township Day Care Center. The Pingtung County Government welcomes elders from day care centers to experience the environment here. Pan Meng An said that young people can take the elders to the Park and caregivers can take care of them. These young people can bike to the Pingtung Hakka Cultural Museum and Chu Tien Railway Station for fun. The young people and the elders are both relieved. He said, “We used to think about where we can take the kids to. Now we have to think about where we can take the elders to.”

The Park is a popular spot of Taiwan Design Expo. The Pingtung County Government worked with HONDAO Senior Citizen’s Welfare Foundation and Kao Tien Tzu Co., Ltd. to plan for the first virtual reality puzzle game in Taiwan during the Expo. This game simulates the elderly life. Participants of the game would understand why chairs are required in the community. Everyone is welcome to try the elderly friendly facilities.

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